Who doesn’t love strawberries? With grocery store berries costing between $3-$5 per pound and chocked full of 13 nasty pesticides, it is time to grow your own. Growing strawberries, while it takes a little time to get them established, your strawberry plants and it’s runners continue to produce for years to come. Let’s get started!
Selecting Bearing Period
Ever-bearing strawberries will bear smaller fruit throughout the season. While, June and late season strawberries bear larger fruit during a specific period. I would recommend mixing it up and selecting a variety of bearing periods.
Select varieties of strawberries which are great for your growing region. This is a great state-by-state guide for selecting the best strawberry varieties for your area: Strawberry Varieties.
Purchasing strawberry crowns definitely speeds up your strawberry harvest, but some of you may want to grow strawberries from seed. Alpine berries, in particular, are grown from seed. Most strawberry varieties need to experience winter temperatures in order to germinate. Simulate this by placing your seeds in an airtight container and put in your freezer for 2-4 weeks according to the variety you select. Take the seeds out of the freezer and allow them to come up to room temperature. Sprinkle the seeds over a moist seedling mix (one part peat moss to three parts organic rich soil) and lightly dust it with peat moss. Place a heating pad under the seedling tray and place in a sunny spot. The seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks. Thin the seedlings, allowing 1-2″ between each plant. Keep the soil moist throughout the germination and growing period.
Strawberries prefer a soil temperature of 65-70o F to grow. The pH range should be between 6.0-6.5. Strawberries are perennials and will come back each year and put off many runners which create new plants as the old plants dies off. Plant strawberry crowns in a full sun location, in the matted row system giving 12” spacing between each strawberry crown staggered and 36” between each row. Dig a shallow hole and pile up a little hill of soil in the center with a shallow moat surrounding the hill. Spread the strawberry crown’s roots into the moat. Cover the roots to the base of the plant. Do not plant strawberries next to tomatoes, eggplant, peppers or potatoes. Plant strawberries in fertile soil early in the spring or in the fall, well-rotted horse manure is brilliant in this application. Snip off the majority of the flowers to increase subsequent year’s harvest. It will take about a year to get a full harvest of berries, but it is well worth the wait. Water regularly and do not let the soil dry out. Mulch the plants with straw and cover with straw mulch during the winter.
100 strawberry plants will produce about 1 pint of berries per day. If you have selected a variety of bearing varieties, you should have enough berries throughout the growing season. Harvest berries when they are ripe for the best flavor.
Those little, green flecks on the outside of the berry are strawberry seeds. Cut the berries in half and dry out the berry completely. Rub the seeds off of the dried pulp. Separate the seed from the chaff by rubbing the seeds between your thumb and fore finger. That’s it! Easy-peezy.